Bush’s approval has been on the rise all summer (coming back from a long slide), and in August, it started rising more quickly. I’m not quite clear on why, but I have a new theory about it. At first, I thought that Bush’s lame duck status was actually working for him — that some republican-leaners on the cusp of approval/disapproval maybe don’t care as much at this point and are falling back to their default assessment. This is assuming that there are more republican-leaners disapproving of Bush than democrat-leaners that approve, and I think that’s prudent. But I’m not sure the lame duck/apathy theory explains the more sudden rising in mid-August. So now I think it must have something to do with the oncoming election. I think that Bush’s general unpopularity in the second term has had a lot to do with republicans no longer feeling like they have to support Bush in order to keep a democrat out of the White House. A lot of people supported Bush long enough to defeat Kerry, and once there was no liberal threat, their love for the President waned.
So maybe now there’s another liberal threat? Perhaps with imminent elections, republicans are re-republicanizing? Of course, one problem with this theory is that Bush is actually more popular than the congressional republicans who are actually the ones up for election. Maybe Bush just looks better to republicans as they compare him to the senators and congressmen they’re ready to vote against?